Brian Cookson, President of British Cycling, will run against Pat McQuaid for the top job at the UCI (International Cycling Union) on a pledge to restore the sport’s tarnished reputation.
News came yesterday that Cookson, British Cycling’s President since 1997 and also President of the UCI’s Road Commission since 2011, intends to throw his hat into the ring for the UCI presidency.
In the UK, Cookson has overseen the national federation during a time when cycling has boomed through gold medal success at the Olympics and professional success on the road, with Bradley Wiggins’ 2012 Tour de France win the jewel in Britain’s crown.
The Guardian reports that Cookson will make a formal announcement of his candidature today. The paper also reports he will publish a manifesto designed to improve transparency and accountability in the professional sport – particularly road racing – which has been rocked by waves of controversy in the past year, including the Lance Armstrong affair and the culmination of the trial of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes at the centre of the Operacion Puerto doping affair.
The sport continues to be dogged by doping scandals. Yesterday, the UCI announced it has provisionally suspended Mauro Santambrogio of the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad after he tested positive for blood booster EPO on stage one of the Giro d’Italia. He was the second team rider to be suspended for the drug after Danilo di Luca was handed a suspension notice two weeks ago.
Meanwhile McQuaid, UCI President since 2006, has been dogged by setbacks to his campaign for a third re-election. After originally securing support from his home federation, Cycling Ireland, the body called an Emergency General Meeting and revoked its original support. McQuaid then sought nomination through the Swiss cycling federation.
The next UCI president will be decided in September in Florence at the UCI Road World Championships.